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When Shakespeare goes bad

I have previously declared that some writing is so astounding, so magnificent, so marvelous, so exquisite, that absolutely nothing can tarnish or mar it. I am often speaking, in this case, of, say, the works of Shakespeare, and, as so often, I'm totally wrong. I've just been watching the MST3K version of a 1961 version of Hamlet -- filmed for television in Germany and very unfortunately dubbed into English, and even more unfortunately, with Ricardo Montalban dubbing Claudius, which made me keep thinking that Claudius was about to shout out "KIRK!" or that Hamlet would shout out "KHAN!" which does not lead me to the proper mood to appreciate Shakespeare. Not that this particular version could be appreciated without the MST3K additions, because, ow, ow, ow, and if you have any appreciation for a well played Polonius, or a desire to see a well played Polonius, this isn't the film to watch. On the bright side, the ending has never seemed less tragic; you just wonder why the television audience didn't do the killing instead.

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Mari Ness

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